EXCLUSIVE: Meet Min Ortiz, the drag artist leading that epic ‘Break Free’ performance at PasigLaban

Published March 22, 2022, 10:21 AM

by John Legaspi

An electrifying moment during the people’s rally in Pasig City that caught the attention of international pop star Ariana Grande

“The time has come for you to lip-sync for your life,” those are the iconic words of legendary drag queen RuPaul Charles, signaling that a mega showdown is about to start. Lip-syncing has been part of drag culture for the longest time, but it was in his show, “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” that fans all over the world saw what a work of performing art it was, producing moments that gagged people as they tune in on their television. While we have yet to see what Filipino drag artists can do with their lip-syncing skills on the screens with the coming of drag reality shows in the country, one has already demonstrated the power that type of act has over the weekend.

Last March 20, followers of Vice President Leni Robredo created a sea of pink as thousands gathered at the Ortigas Business district to express their support for her presidential run. Regular Juans and Juanas put out their wittiest signboards and Filipino artists gave empowering musical performances, among that stood out is the moment when the crowd was singing in unison to Ariana Grande’s hit “Break Free.” The performance was so electrifying that it caught the attention of the Grammy-winning pop star, and shared it through her Instagram stories with the caption, “I could not believe this was real (teary-eyed emojis). I love you more than words.” In case you weren’t able to attend the rally, that epic “Break Free” moment was led by Filipino drag artist Min Ortiz, a.k.a Minty Fresh.

Minty Fresh (Photo from her Instagram page)

“I just felt like it was the right song to perform,” Minty told Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “There are a lot of negative things happening in the past few years and, personally, I wanted to break free from those things. Also, it’s a very hype and positive song, very fitting for the event.” And she was right, the song lit a fire within the crowd, making the people sing with her during her performance.

While drag artists are known for the flair and energy they put on the stage, Minty confessed that she felt a little nervous and anxious before stepping onto the PasigLaban stage. “I have zero sleep that day because I have a show the night before but when I felt the energy of the crowd I just broke free and enjoyed [myself] with them. Everything was worth it,” she said.

Of course, the biggest gag of all is was Ariana Grande recognizing the performance. “I was in shock. I did not expect that,” Minty said upon knowing what the pop singer did on social media. “I was emotional seeing that post because I really did not expect that my performance will reach her and be viral.”

Filipinos’ fascination with drag queens goes beyond international drag shows or any regular makeup transformation videos online. Years before “RuPaul’s Drag Race” entered our streaming life or Manila Luzon became a queer icon, Filipino drag queens have already been standing on the highest heels, wearing the biggest wigs, drawing sharpest eyebrows, and wearing the most glamorous dresses, performing in some of Manila’s colorful bars.

To know more about the art that goes into Filipino drag, read here.


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